Thoughts from the Gulch


I never have been an athletic person. I still remember the humiliation of running tests in elementary and middle school, when I was usually a person or two removed from the fattest.

I started walking toward the end of high school and into college, and, not having grown up in a family that really participated in physical activity of any kind, made this great discovery when I returned alone to a valley I had once been to with friends. The urge to wander had grown tremendously over the years, but I had had no knowledge, or experience, or confidence at all in this world, and still somehow managed to make it happen.

That was a long time ago. So today I was dismayed when I woke up and simply wanted to do nothing. Last year was my most active season of snowshoeing ever, and I think I’m behind my record this year: January is over, and I’ve only been snowshoeing 4 times. I simply wanted to do…nothing.

“Isn’t it characteristic of depression when you stop desiring to do the things that once brought you joy?”

“No, don’t be stupid. I still want to go snowshoeing, I just don’t want to go today.”

I kept reloading Google maps. When the traffic to Breckenridge finally thinned out enough to allow a 1.5 hour drive time, I grudgingly got dressed and hit the road.

Brain child.

I don’t often go hiking or snowshoeing with people. It’s usually nothing against people, I’m just slow as hell. Today I was tired, low on energy, and not breathing super well, which happens when I don’t get enough sleep or I eat crappy food. I found myself stopping a lot. When I stop a lot by myself, my greatest critic is me. But when I stop a lot with others, my greatest critic is me, on steroids. The voices and all of their horrible words are too strong. I don’t often go hiking or snowshoeing with people.

“Come on. It shouldn’t be much farther. You have plenty of time.”

When I drove to the trailhead I passed these small, “cute” houses, and I thought, “I want to live in one of those someday.” When I was leaving I saw a bus drop off a family of skiers at the stop near those houses. I realized those houses were probably just rentals. Bummer.

The mine was covered in snow. It’s too bad. One of the greatest joys in the world is scanning the ground for lost relics. Hints, clues to the past. There is a sign near my favorite canyon that shows some historic pictures of an old house that sat near the entrance, “but it is almost completely removed now.” Such sacrilege! Nothing is ever too far gone. I wandered around, where fanged seeds barbed my socks. Pieces of brick. A tiny scrap of porcelain. A door spring. Even a sheet of metal roof up on the hill, hidden by tall grasses. Action and adventure were always something alien for the somebody’s-else. I never understood most of those things, most of those people. But I’ve never truly understood what I was connecting with when it came to archaeology and history. I don’t require an explanation.

I found the cabin, but the trail went on. There was nothing up there. Thankful to have finally reached the end, I headed back.

I have yet to figure out why negative thoughts are the cosmic background radiation of my mind. I’ve been aware of this for years, but have only recently started praying for healing from this. It breaks the peace. It breaks the solitude.

I grabbed a tall lemon tea and 3 tootsie pops from the gas station when I got home. Today was a good day, and that has to count for something.